Charlie V and Linas K got the calls overnight
An old familiar name popped up overnight as the Raptors tried to dip into the NBA free agency waters.
|TORONTO STAR PHOTO|
|May happy returns?|
What I'm hearing from some league sources is the team made overtures to one-time Raptor Charlie Villanueva as well as Denver’s Linas Kleiza in the first few hours teams were able to negotiate with free agents.
The response? Some interest from both but it’s still a long way from having either under contract, or even getting them to agree to terms.
Armed with only the mid-level salary exception – the team is not close to cutting ties with all its free agents to get far under the salary cap – general manager Bryan Colangelo could offer part of it to one, all of it to one but it’s virtually impossible he’d get both with the estimated $5.5 million exception.
Charlie V, a fan favourite dealt by Colangelo to Milwaukee in one of the GMs first move, was all but cut loose by the Bucks this week when he wasn’t given a qualifying offer.
He made about $3.5 million last season and will probably command the entire mid-level exception. And there are other teams out there chasing him, too. League sources say Cleveland certainly has interest – the Cavs have the same money available as Toronto does – and Detroit could make a bid.
Kleiza, who league sources says has quite an interest in Toronto, would be much cheaper. He made about $1.8 million in Denver last season and could be had for a part of the mid-level exception.
I think Villanueva’s probably a better fit but a more difficult acquisition, given the circumstances. If he comes and Shawn Marion comes back, who starts at the three? Would Charlie come off the bench? He’d be a relatively expensive backup, wouldn’t he?
But there’s always the Marion situation to think about and I’m hearing around the league most of Colangelo’s time overnight was spent monitoring any possible interest in the 31-year-old Matrix.
Not sure there was a whole lot but there was some and Colangelo has to weigh what he’d get back in a sign-and-trade, if that’s what it came to. Of course, his first goal is to get Marion under contract, but at a reasonable number and that's where the negotiating's gonna take place.
Oh yeah, it’s not going to take very long for Toronto to welcome Carlos Delfino back to the fold. Word around the league is that it’s close, very close.
Okay, back to cutting the grass.